Sir, I think it’s overly optimistic to believe that the future of retail will be shopping online with fewer in-store product options (‘The future of retail is closer than you think,’ thegrocer.co.uk, 23 January).
This type of shopping experience is great for those who are ferociously brand loyal. In such cases things like the Amazon Echo buttons etc are really useful. However, many people like to buy whatever is on offer and therefore automatic replenishment devices are of no use because they lock the consumer into only one product.
Being locked into one product means you can’t take advantage of bargains and discounts. People also like to browse new products and try them out to keep things fresh. Having everything automated would actually be really boring after a while. Part of the fun of shopping for me is discovering new products and cutting costs.
Elide Job, via thegrocer.co.uk
Tesco-Booker: less faff
Sir, The Tesco-Booker merger is driven by existing logistics logic: national account manager does a bogof deal with Tesco buyer; sales ramp up and NAM gets pat on back and collects bonus; independent retailer orders large amounts of product via Tesco Direct to deliver to their home; delivery arrives and van driver is told to put it in the van parked at independent’s house, or in the garage; Booker sales or brand’s independent sales people just see that sales of that the product isn’t moving much with the independent; manufacturer thinks they are increasing their reach and do another bogof. Now Tesco can control this arbitrage by offering the same deals to independents without all the faff of going round the back door.
Craig Sams, author and founder, Green & Black’s
Got your snow plan?
Sir, UK supermarkets are feeling the pain of a lack of supply chain diversity after the bad weather in Spain. Any extreme event can cause a supply crisis when companies lack this diversity. For example, an individual supply chain might be affected by a factory fire, goods held by a port authority, or a contamination scare. A selection of audited suppliers in different areas will minimise risk. Food businesses can also protect themselves by regularly updating crisis management plans in conjunction with business continuity plans.
Jessica Burt, food & agribusiness lawyer, Mills & Reeve